With no preface, here's the plot of the first episode of Macross Delta: A girl stows away on a space ship in order to avoid marrying some rich apple-orchard-owning guy. She also wants to fly to another planet to meet her favorite idol singers who are in a group known as Walkure. Stowaway bumps into an aimless boy who pilots a lifting mech at the space dock (think of the heavy loading suit in Aliens), and together they get entangled in an attack by giant Zentradi soldiers who become infected with the "rage virus" known as Var. The Zentradi are held at bay by Walkure though, who turn out to be a super-science magical-girl group who can literally sing the Var out of infected people. Walkure is backed up by an army of shittily-rendered CGI dancers and a group of 4 dopey Valkyrie war-plane pilots (known as Delta Squadron) who are themselves attacked by a group of angry pretty boys in super transforming Valkyrie mecha who have Grim Reapers painted on their planes. During this time, the dock worker boy gets into an abandoned Valkyrie fighter and proceeds to break-dance-fight against the Zentradi mecha while he rescues the stowaway girl who starts singing with Walkure, and whose magical singing powers can be felt in everybody's heart, curing them of the Var rage virus.
I shit you not.
Then, immediately in the next episode the boy gets recruited to fly a transforming war mecha-plane in Delta Squadron, and the girl wins an audition to join Walkure. Because.
THANKFULLY in the third episode things become a lot more palatable. The boy shirks all his training because he's a douche (and he starts to fail hard), and the girl finds that just being able to sing into people's hearts is not enough, and she actually has to put forth more effort herself in order to make it in the band (I liked that they weren't making it easy-peasy on these two). But then episode 4 comes, just a month into both their training, and he's a legitimate piloting ace already. She still needs some work though.
But I digress. This show is a mess. I confess. It's heart I do bless. Now, the rest of this review I must address. That's just the process. Nevertheless....
So, first off, I think you want to know how Macross Delta ranks next to all the other Macross shows in the franchise. I will tell you, it's at the bottom. I honestly may place Macross7 and Macross II ahead of it. Hell, even the shitty second Macross Frontier movie is better than almost everything in Macross Delta. Macross.
It's pretty much the same setup as everything else that's come before it: Guy becomes pilot, girl becomes idol singer, they jonse for each other, but there is another woman who's interested in the man, then using awesome piloting skills and mad singing abilities, our group of heroes saves the universe. Oh, and a big brother figure dies in battle. There's just no pineapple salad this time around.
There are a few things that are different in Delta. Things that set it apart from the other Macross shows. These are not BETTER things, just different things. Namely there's an idol singing GROUP who must work together for singing justice, and not just single singers on their own. Secondly, the other woman who likes our main protagonist never had a chance with him, and thusly, even though she pines for him, there is no real love triangle in this thing (at which point I'd ask "Why even make her romantically interested in the pud?" But what do I know about plot and characterizations when it comes to writing processes. I'm just an internet reviewer). I don't think he ever even looked at her as more than just a piloting pal. It was actually kind of sad... And totally pointless.
The idea behind Macross Delta is interesting though. Humanity and the Zentradi have encountered tons of fellow Protoculture civilizations in the galaxy as they've branched out after the almost total destruction of Earth in the Space War I in the early 21st Century. Some of these peoples have unique abilities (like gills and webbed digits, or weird jelly things in their hair and the ability to use songs to make people their puppets). And at least one population (a humanoid population on the planet Windermere) believes that the United Federation is out to put them under their thumb and rule them all, and tax them, and treat them horribly. So they rise up, kick them off their planet, and are now actively battling UN Spacy-led Federation colonies for "freedom." Interesting, yes, but unfortunately what they DO with this outline is nothing but a war crime.
So the Delta Squadron starts out as just a civilian mini-airforce filled with ex-Spacy humans and Zentradi. They go in and secure areas and planets from Var outbreaks, and inoculate others if it looks like an outbreak may occur. Then when Windermere starts attacking UN Spacy planets, Delta is asked to fight the Windermerean aggressors in place of the actual UN Spacy forces, and all of a sudden they straight up go to war with no qualms about their new situation at all. What?
For being a 26 episode series, and having so much room to expand upon and tell their story, Macross Delta feels like it both has too much narrative to tell, and also is waaaay too stretched out and should have only been 10-12 episodes long. Many plot elements are actually repeated in this thing (Lord knows how many times Walkure had to sing the Var out of people, and how many times Delta Squadron had to sneak onto a Windermerean-held planet to sort-of-stealthily discover something or steal something... And they hit the same planet more than once too), and the animation budget obviously suffered from being 26 eps instead of half that amount. Holy shit, the animation quality is terrible, and character designs are off-model so much that it makes me question if there ever were any models to begin with.
Oh, and the songs.... What a terrible step backwards for the Macross saga. The original SDF Macross had some very memorable and extremely fun light J-pop tunes sung by Lynn Minmay. Macross II had one of the franchise's best opening songs. Hell, even Macross7 had a few delectable tracks when Mylene was fronting the band and Basara sat out. And Macross Frontier was filled with NOTHING BUT amazing songs... Macross Delta though... There wasn't one track that I wanted to hear again after I was done with it. Not getting Yoko Kanno back was perhaps the worst decision (other than all the big plot holes, and terrible writing, and cheap animation, and awful characters) that the producers could have made for this production.
Anyways, that's my basic review. Below you can find my random list of shit that hurt my brain while watching this space-train wreck of a series.
The List of Pain
There's a scene where a space battle is going on, and all the NUNs pilots are under the effects of the Var, and so the Delta Squadron goes in with Walkure singing, and the Walkure members are all projected on all the asteroids all around the battlefield somehow and for some reason. It was so lame. And it counters an earlier plot point that "Walkure's songs can only cure the Var from people when heard in person, not over radio transmissions." Depending on the scene, that is not the case.
In episode 7 we find out that.... What? The dull green-haired Walkure singer is the universe's best hacker, and she's able to hack into an enemy stronghold's defense system with her mad hacking skills of hacking, while everyone says "hacking" over and over again? And she hacks it by only making wide hand gestures like Tom Cruise in Minority Report? That's mad-hackingly AMAZING(ly laaaaaaaame)!
And the Delta pilots and Walkure are all sent on an infiltration mission.... Why? Is this "Delta Squadron" so short staffed? Even if there were no other soldiers in the group, they could have sent the mechanics. The pilots and singers were WAY too valuable.
Once again, what the fuck is it with idiots not aiming to kill on a battlefield? It's not heroic and gallant, it's absolutely retarded and suicidal.
Oh my god... Then came episode 15. The Windermerean Lord Roid hijacks the Galactic TV network and broadcasts the ascension of the girly-looking Prince Heinz to the Windermere thrown... And then, instead of declaring the war against UN Spacy over (like he told his top advisors that he would, after they cleaned all the humans and Zentradi out from their sector of space), he declares that like the original Protoculture 500,000 years ago, Windermere will conquer the entire galaxy!... And free people from the UN's evil reign. BY CONQUERING THEM ALL!!! The Windermerean people are all like "What in the fuck?!" The douchie pilots are all like "YEAH! BURN THEM ALL!" And then Roid lets girly Heinz stand in front of the cameras and all the Windermereans immediately turn bloodthirsty due to his unmanish appearance. Then the newly crowned King Heinz sings his hypnotizing song. Which is just him going "Laaaaa! Leeeeeeei! Laaaa laaalalaaaaaaaa!" And there was much rejoicing... Except by me. I was making a face like somebody just shoved a diarrhea-filled diaper under my nose while I was tying to eat a delicious steak dinner.
And apparently the bad guy known as the White Knight can fly even better with only one eye and no depth perception. Who knew?
Episode 17 is just a giant music video for all of Walkure's shitty songs. I have never prayed for an episode of anything to be over quicker.
Then comes episode 18, and the Delta crew goes back to infiltrating the SAME FUCKING PLANET that they snuck onto only 4 or 5 episodes back. How could they run out of plot ideas already in such a short series? Oh, but then, for no reason, Walkure starts singing and blows their cover right when the super star pilots of the Windermereanians show up.... What? Why?... WHYYYYYYY?!
The retardedly lame bad guy prince kid then starts singing in order to counter the Walkure song. The Windermereans use his voice and the dumb Protoculture relics on all the planets in their sector of the galaxy as an amplifying device to enslave the all Protoculture-derived creatures... And they do so and win... But then the main Walkure singer starts singing HARDER and wins even better! What is going on?
Oh my gawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwd. Then they try to link the Var rage disease to the Vajra of Macross Frontier, and then they try to make the Walkure magical girls singing their way through battles sound legit. Both explanations just reek of desperate reaching though.
Oh man, then they actually get official Macross history wrong. Bear with me as I geek out here. So, the original Macross: SDF series took place in this time-line. Then the inhabitants of that time-line made a drama movie called Do You Remember Love? In that drama movie Misa Hayes discovers and translates a 500,000 year old Protoculture song and Lynn Minmay sings it during the final battle in order to confuse/turn the enemy. That song was only a part of the historical-fictional movie of the original time-line. But in Macross Delta's ep 19 (when we're given a history lesson of the franchise), we're told matter of factly that that Protoculture song was found and that battle took place just like the movie said.... Which they DID NOT. Fuck you guys, if a middle-aged white boy who doesn't even speak your language can point out plot holes this enormous in your production, then you know you done fucked up. And I'm not even half as obsessed with Macross as your home-based fans. YOU SUCK.
So Windermere has declared outright WAR on the entire galaxy, and then proved that they were capable of enslaving every last descendant of the Protoculture in said galaxy, but it's always just the dinky Delta Squadron that goes up against them. Why? Why won't UN Spacy send in ALL its tactical units and wipe Windermere off the galactic maps? I think I remember one throwaway line that the Zentradi captain said at one point — something along the lines of "NUNS is busy fighting lots of other threats, and we're all alone." Really? Are ANY of these other threats THIS LARGE? And if they are, then why are we watching THIS shitty story? Why not show us those other larger, possibly cooler threats?
I was hoping that the twist on the ol' Macross storyline this time would be that Delta Squadron was actually the villain, and the angry pretty-boy pilots were the real heroes. Nope. Could have been interesting, but instead we got the same old thing, just in a moldier presentation.
There were so many times in this show that I simply had to pause the episode that I was watching, stare off into space for a few minutes, and then just scream to the heavens, "WHAT THE FUCK!?!" Like when Hayate is getting turned into a Var-maniac (despite having already been exposed to Walkure's songs first hand, which we've already been told immunizes people from the Var), but then his robot-plane is hugged by another robot-plane, and then he's hugged by his two ladies [in his own personal, half-assed love triangle] after they appear as visions to him, and then he's mysteriously healed. WHAT THE FUUUUUUUUCK?!
Episode 23 has our Delta friends space-folding right to the heart of Windemere's main power base, for some stupid reason, and then Freyja, Hayate, and Zentradi girl get separated from the rest of the group and have to evade all the robot-planes and search parties looking for them. They usually duck behind rocks or trees, or hide in caves. The problem is that Windemere is covered in SNOW at this time. They leave looooong tracks of prints through this thick snow wherever they go. HOW does the Windermerean army not find them in 10 seconds?.... What the fuuuuuuuuck?!
And Mikumo, the lead Walkure singer, is actually a clone of the Protoculture "Star Singer" that Lady M (aka Lynn Minmay somehow, even though she's never seen) rebirthed and set upon the galaxy as a voice weapon? What the FUUUUUUUUUCK?!
And why oh why did they not only have to make Hayate's dad NOT an evil guy who dropped a dimensional weapon on Windemere on purpose, but a "super spy who was trying to save Windermereans"? And not only that, but he's also the man who gave Freyja her first MP3 player and got her into music in the first place? Why must everyone related to our heroes be heroes? Why not give this universe some dimension?
Then we learn of Roid's REAL plan with the Star Singer as his weapon: Evolve all Protoculture-birthed beings into one living creature through song... A la End of Evangelion. And what was he planning to do if he never randomly got his hands on Mikumo? The little prince had already shown that his voice couldn't do what she could? WHAT THE FUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK?!?!?!?!????!?!
OH god. Music turns people into zombies when mixed with the Vajra bacteria in their bodies that the Vajra left in this universe after they departed it.
Don't think about it, Morty.
Then the finale is a giant sing-off. Then I shot myself in the head. Now I'm dead. Thanks, Macross Delta.
And did I mention that 98% of all the music in this thing sucked giant Zentradi balls? It did. In a Macross show, that's a fucking crime.
The End of the List
If you ever even think that you might want to watch this garbage, don't. If you think "Well, the original Macross was fun, and I loved Frontier, so maybe I should give this a try!" Don't. If somebody has a gun to you head and says "Watch Macross Delta, or I'll KILL you!" Just remember this: Some things are worse than death.
(Notes From the Rossman: After suffering through Macross Delta, I made Jimmy Jammer watch it. He's either dead now, or in a coma, reliving the nightmare over and over again in his trapped and damaged brain. God, for his sake, I hope he's dead.)
Well, that's it for me. I concede. I am apparently NOT the most evil being in all of creation. There is no way in Hell that I could have come up with something as terrible and painful as this Macross Delta.
I tip my hat to you, writers and designers of this anime program. I'll leave the gates to Hades under the welcome mat. It's all yours! Torture the souls of the damned for all eternity, or until someone more vile than you appears.
I'm going on a loooong overdue vacation. Maybe to Detroit. Anyplace will be a vacation if it's away from Macross Delta.